Last night, merchants filled the Franklin Town Hall to discuss with Franklin Aldermen their concerns over a lack of communication with the Main Street Program, a perceived bias against them when they organized events, versus when the town organized events and other grievances. The video above was of the entire meeting.
One of my personal observations is that a couple of the Aldermen and perhaps the Main Street Staff do not like the new group, Venture Local Franklin or the Streets of Franklin organizations that have arisen to fill needs that have not been met by the Main Street Program. To me, there seems to be some animosity that is of a personal nature.
Since I have personally been involved in the Venture Local group and Street Fest, I'll give my perspective. I personally saw attempts by the town to hurt the effort by Main Street Merchants to hold a mutually beneficial Street Fest by changing the rules they had to play by...among them was suddenly not allowing merchants to put up tents in the parking spaces in front of their businesses as they had during the previous three Street Fests, not allowing them to string a banner across Main Street in the days prior to the last event, and some attempted intimidation by someone in the town administration sending police officers to deliver news of the changes to merchants involved in the planning and promotion of the event.
I think it came through very clearly in the video who some of the people responsible for getting us to this situation. It was my original intent not to take my camera to the meeting and record it because I was concerned that merchants might be afraid to speak up with it there. Several of the merchants and a couple of the Aldermen spoke to me in the days and hours before the meeting and convinced me to record it.
I am glad that they helped me change my mind.
I think that this is part of a problem the town has had for a number of years now, with certain people having the idea that it is either their way or the highway. It has previously blown up over the way the Picking on the Square has been handled and last year's dust up over the Nikwasi Indian Mound.
In my personal opinion, nothing will change until certain Aldermen are no longer on the Town Board. You can watch the above video and judge for yourself in that regard.